___ “Every painted picture is also an object.” This statement by Wolfram Ullrich is not just a tautology. It points to the essence of his oeuvre, to something that only ostensibly is obvious and which many of his works put to the test and address as their theme.

___ A painting has, as a rule, a planar base and for that reason alone is assigned to two-dimensional art. At the same time, however, it is also an object, however flat it may be. A painted image is a sculptural structure consisting of various materials: a backing and paint, which is usually applied in several layers. Yet precisely in figurative art, viewers rarely become aware of the painting’s status as an object. They concentrate on the subject matter, the object depicted, not on the materials used and the three-dimensional character of the supposed perfectly flat painting. Wolfram Ullrich works play with this trait. His wall works in particular use powerful, monochrome colors to highlight their spatial presence, their status as objects. Yet just as in his paintings, he is painting a surface that remains twodimensional. In the end, viewers are scarcely able to decide whether they are standing in front of a relief or a painting. And that is precisely the objective. The materials and structures used are not means to an end – they are the end. They are the meaning. And this reveals most clearly: Wolfram Ullrich’s works are examples of Concrete Art.

___ Presumably, no artist plans at the beginning of his career: “I want to be and will become a protagonist of Concrete Art.” In general, these things evolve over the course of his or her work. Seen retrospectively, however, it can often be shown that the result, namely “Concrete Art”, is an almost logical consequence of an artist’s career. Nevertheless, usually this path was neither planned nor took nearly as straight a course as it later seems. Artists often become proponents of Concrete Art because they explore the genre and take it to its limits. Only in retrospect does one notice how many work phase go together and why a coherent picture emerges from disparate cycles.


Text: Dr. Theres Rohde